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Kerfuffle boasts stellar lineup of young, seasoned acts

Everyone has their own idea of how to ring in the holiday season. Some hang lights and mistletoe. Others leave out cookies for Santa before singing “Deck the Halls.”

As for the staff at 107.7 Alternative Buffalo, they prefer to replace carols with the guitar-geared cacophony of their annual Kerfuffle Before Christmas, scheduled to reign supreme inside Buffalo’s First Niagara Center on Friday.

After last year’s inaugural gala – featuring the likes of Fitz and the Tantrums and Walk the Moon – this year’s occasion will feature another round of ruckus as varied as a Christmas cookie platter. Energy twins like Matt and Kim will share the stage with well-known commodities like Sublime with Rome and ’90s brethren Third Eye Blind, all while introducing local audiences to rising acts like Wolf Alice, Borns and SomeKindaWonderful. Here’s a preview of what’s on tap.

Sublime with Rome

The seemingly infinite skate punk potential of California trio Sublime’s original lineup officially evaporated when frontman/guitarist Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996. But what Nowell left behind with bandmates Eric Wilson (bass) and Bud Gaugh (drums) has not only lived on but flourished. It eventually directed the current Sublime incarnation with Rome Ramirez, the man who now sings Nowell’s verses on “Badfish” and tracks off the group’s newest album, 2015’s “Sirens.” Touring without Gaugh — who was replaced this year by Vandals drummer Josh Freese — the trio is remade, yet still cast in the same Long Beach sound that, after more than 20 years, still hasn’t aged much.

Matt and Kim

Brooklyn dance-pop duo Matt and Kim return to Buffalo after opening Canalside’s summer schedule last June with an ebullient explosion of balloons, glitter and adrenaline. The entire show was like a monster-fueled Mack track shot out of a T-shirt cannon – but in a good way. Friday’s Kerfuffle visit should provide a Christmas-colored burst of chaos by way of head-bobbing hits from albums like 2012 smash “Lightning” and this year’s exhaustingly infectious “New Glow.”

Wolf Alice

The echoing thunder of the Ellie Rowsell-led Wolf Alice may be attracting the most chatter coming into Kerfuffle’s holiday edition, and with good reason. Since releasing its well-received “Blush” EP two years ago, the North London quartet has melded remnants of such alt-rock forbearers as “Become What You Are”-era Juliana Hatfield with a rolling electronic surge both powerful and, at times, delightfully pulsating. These traits are evident on this year’s “Love is Cool,” packed with tracks sure to leave an impression on Friday attendees not yet familiar with the buzzworthy band.


Of the six bands set to ring in Buffalo’s holiday season to the FNC rafters, only one has its own militia. Cleveland’s SomeKindaWonderful boasts its Butterfly Militia, the devoted fan club sure to be in full force on Friday for the versatile and oft-sorrowful pop off the Jordy Towers-led act’s 2014 self-titled release. Of all the album’s tracks, the combative “Reverse” stands out. Soulful and profanely emotive aside thumping percussion, the tune will certainly allow the jilted time to brood amid an otherwise jolly evening.

Third Eye Blind

The San Francisco-born act may no longer have the juice to open up for the likes of U2 (as it did on the Irish icon’s “Pop” tour in 1997), but it is not fading away, either. With the release of the shimmering “Dopamine” last June — the band’s first album in six years — the Stephan Jenkins-led crew is luring new listeners while satiating those still humming the chorus for “Semi-Charmed Life” nearly 20 years after the single became the catchiest drug-addiction ditty of its decade.


And in the oddest coincidence of the Alt Buffalo holiday bill comes Borns, the Michigan-born singer/songwriter who, like Third Eye Blind, is pushing a current album called “Dopamine.” Luckily for variance purposes, the recordings don’t sound very similar, with Garrett Borns’ effort less “Jumper” and more T Rex. Androgynous vocals dance with glittery chords and keys, all amalgamated to elicit the requisite screams and sways necessary to accompany a rising festival star.

What: Kerfuffle Before Christmas

When: Doors at 5 p.m. Dec. 18

Where: First Niagara Center

Tickets: $25-$45